No trip to China could be complete without taking in the wall
There can hardly be a structure on the earth more impressive than the Great Wall of China. Snaking for 9,000km, albeit not in one continuous line, the wall is a inescapable witness to war, protection, and the audacity of mankind to build. And now thanks to MasterCard and Newstalk, you can take priceless memories from the Great Wall and Beijing, China’s capital and a hub of internationalism.
Right now on The Right Hook, the show is running a competition quite unlike any other – with the chance for seven winners to make their way to seven of the world’s wonders. Every day, an on-air competition sees contestants race against the clock to name seven things from a set category, with two winners each day. The 20 finalists will then fight it out in a Where in the World-style quiz, with MasterCard offering an unforgettable holiday to the champions.
No trip to China could be complete without taking in the wall. Most of the parts that are open to the public date from the Ming dynasty, whose 300-year reign shaped much of what we know of Chinese antiquity. But the earliest parts of the wall date back as far as 206BC, erected to keep out the Northern raiders from crossing over from the badlands into the civilised heart of Chinese culture. It worked, incredibly well, for 15 centuries (and then some), until the Manchu clans breached the barrier, taking Beijing, ushering in the Qing dynasty – from which the word China comes.
There are many ways to visit the wall, but perhaps the most unforgettable way is using your MasterCard to take to the skies for a panoramic view of the wall in all its winding glory. Seeing the wall from the ground is mind-blowing, but seeing one of the world’s greatest wonders from the air is a genuine once-in-a-lifetime experience and a priceless memory.
You make your way to Badaling Aiport, where your private helicopter awaits to bring you up into the sky, allowing you an unparalleled view of the only man-made structure that is visible from the moon. The chopper makes its way south, tracing the wall all the way to the Guanting reservoir, an impressive feat of engineering from the 1950s, and the stunning wetlands of Yeyahu Lake. Then tackle the wall with an expert tour led by David Spindler, the celebrating Sino-historian.
Why not make Beijing your base of operations for an unforgettable trip to China? The political and cultural capital never stops reinventing itself, mixing the splendour of shrines and imperial palaces with architecture that rivals even the ambitions of Dubai. Soaring towers rise high above the city, twinkling amid the constellations of neon lights, nestled between six different UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
And then there’s the unforgettable food, an obsession for the locals. Be brave and take your MasterCard to just some of the 60,000 restaurants located all across this sprawling metropolis. You’ll be salivating at the sight of every sizzling dish go past, from tender and juicy Peking duck, noodles demanding an greedy slurp, and chubby dumplings even the worst chopstick user can get to grips with.
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With thanks to MasterCard and Newstalk